Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall   
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 20:43

(Editor's Note: So begins our effort to keep dedicated Swifters abreast of the goings-on on other skeptical blogs. Science-Based Medicine is among the most mind-expanding and important sites on the web, home to many of the JREF's closest friends and best allies. Henceforth, Harriet Hall, the SkepDoc, will offer us a weekly summary of their work.)

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that seperates the science from the woo in medicine.

This Cruel Farce Has To Stop! PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 00:00


For those who may need further evidence for my contention, the proof can be found at -- where it is clearly seen that the “facilitator” is looking directly at the keyboard, while the subject is asleep! There can be no further doubt.  This FC claim is simply untrue, a farce, a lie – and the “facilitator” knows it! And no, this man is not going to write a book, but the "facilitator" is, and if this humbug is not stopped, she'll make a fortune doing so. Put a stop to this, someone!"

But who will see that the caretakers for this unfortunate man are corrected and made to answer for this situation?

Original article:

I'm enraged. Several perceptive persons have sent me to - where we can see Dr. Nancy Snyderman relating a story.  It's a heartrender, described thus by Dr. Snyderman:

A mother [in Belgium] says her son has emerged from what doctors thought was a vegetative state to say he was fully conscious for 23 years but could not respond because he was paralyzed.

No, that is not what the man said, Dr. Snyderman. That's what an incompetent layperson typed for him! I ask you to first go to, and note the section of the video from 12 to 35 seconds, then come back here.

Thanks, Favors, News PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Sunday, 22 November 2009 22:35

Nineteen days ago, we published a request for your suggestions on the future development of Swift, as well as a call for freelance writers and columnists. Lots of people requested writers' guidelines, and we got a handful of really excellent stories. Thank you to Sean Sturgeon, Matt Fiore, Penn Bullock, Naomi Baker, and Luke Doug Haines. (Send more!)

As a result of your suggestions, we'll operate a little differently from now on. The very first thing we'll do is disable or severely modify the Vote Up/Vote Down button in the "Comments" section.  That button has buried a great many worthwhile thoughts, and it'll be gone within the week. My apologies to those whose opinions have been stifled.

Bull**** Artist? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Friday, 20 November 2009 23:20

A rawtha angry letter by Rupert Sheldrake will appear in the next issue of Skeptic, in response to Chris French's ("reverential") interview of James Randi in the summer issue.

The letter has its points -- for example, when it accuses Randi of occasional grumpiness (It's true! He can be grumpy!) -- but the bulk of the thing is an attack upon Randi's character and qualifications.

Mostly, Sheldrake seems discomfited by a document passed out by Randi, Andrew Mayne, and Michael Shermer at The Amaz!ng Meeting 3, entitled "Communicating Skepticism To The Public." We have no copies of this document. Perhaps you can help us.

Glorious Dawns, Etc. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 19 November 2009 18:10

bridgefog.jpgScientific skepticism is the simple process by which provisional conclusions are reached through a systematic examination of evidence. The tools of science fill our workbench while emotions and spirituality are left still wrapped in cellophane under the table -- pretty, and seemingly pretty useless. As such, it would seem that the humanities would have little to offer the skeptical community. What can poetry tell us of Occam's razor? How can a song express the quadratic equation?

As I write this, I'm listening to "Glorious Dawn" by ColorPulse, also know as John Boswell. This viral piece features Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking "singing" about the wonder of science. I find the sound mesmerizing and listen to it often; your mileage may vary. But it illustrates an important point that I think the skeptical community misses at times. Music, art and poetry can and should inform our skepticism.

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